A Guide to Commercial Concrete Sealing

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You may not think about it, but the concrete surrounding your business plays a big role in attracting and retaining clientele. Cracked and stained driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks are not only unsightly, but they can be dangerous. Commercial concrete sealing may be a good option to not only keep your concrete looking as good as it did in the beginning, but it is protection against accidents.  

What is Commercial Concrete Sealing?

Concrete is a porous material that breathes freely and absorbs water. Heavy rainfalls, flooding, snow, large trucks, and continual auto and foot traffic can lead to a variety of structural and aesthetic problems. When water seeps through concrete, it winds up causing damage over time. Temperature fluctuations are to blame for expansion and contraction that leads to breaks. Oxidation begins as soon as concrete is installed; this leads to discoloration and a brittle and stiff texture. 

Concrete Sealing is the application of a compound to the surface of the concrete that will protect it from wear-and-tear as well as the elements. Topical film-forming sealers create a layer of waterproofing on top of the concrete. These are used when a glossy, wet-looking finish is desired. A penetrating sealer soaks into the concrete to waterproof it. This gives a matte finish. Some sealers are clear, while others include a stain to color the concrete. 

The Benefits of Concrete Sealing

Concrete pavement is a significant investment, so there are several benefits to getting it seal coated.

Sealing your concrete:

  • Prolongs the longevity of the pavement.
  • Gives an extra layer of protection from the elements.
  • Creates a barrier against oil, oxidation, chemical spills, aging and UV rays.
  • Speeds up the melting of snow and ice that may settle on the surface.
  • Keeps the cost of other types of maintenance down.
  • Improves curb appeal.

When Should a Seal Coat be Applied to Concrete?

Many sealers can and should be applied as soon as the new concrete can withstand the weight of the installer.  Others require the concrete to be fully cured before application. Curing usually takes about 28 days. Virtually all pavements will benefit immensely from being seal coated within the first year of installation. The process should be repeated every two to four years as part of a comprehensive and cost-effective maintenance plan.

Clear sealant being applied to a commercial concrete floor

The Process of Applying a Concrete Sealant

On commercial properties, concrete sealant should be applied by professionals for the best results. Before applying sealers, surfaces must be clean, dry and free of loose debris. The process is as follows:

  1. Oil, grease, dust, stains, and any previously applied sealant must be removed from the concrete. If left on, these will prevent the sealer from adhering properly.
  2. Once clean, the sealant is sprayed or rolled on. If rolled, it should be applied quickly in a “V” or “W” pattern to produce a thin, even layer.
  3. The first layer is allowed to dry completely.
  4. A second coat is applied in the opposite direction.
  5. The sealer must be fully dry before it is walked or driven on. 

Concrete Sealing Options

There are two general types of concrete sealants available-topical and penetrating. Within those categories, materials vary. The best sealant to use depends on the level of traffic, weather conditions, and budget.

Topical Sealants

Topical sealants form a protective coating that adheres to the top of the concrete. They can impart a gloss and change the color of the concrete.

  • Acrylic. Available in satin, low-gloss, high-gloss, and tinted finishes, acrylic sealers enhance the beauty of concrete. They protect against weather, mold, and mildew and are very cost-effective. 
  • Epoxy. A good choice when longer life is needed in a sealer, epoxy can only be used on fully cured concrete. 
  • Polyurethane. Producing a durable coating with resistance to wear, polyurethane offers UV resistance, gloss, and color enhancement.
  • Aromatic Polyurethane. The least expensive of all polyurethane coatings, aromatic polyurethane cures from moisture in the air rather than a chemical reaction. It is best used as a primer or intermediate coat.
  • Aliphatic Polyurethane. Widely used, aliphatic polyurethane offers a harder, stronger, more chemically resistant coating that is also UV stable.
  • Polyurea. The most expensive of all topical coatings, polyurea has excellent UV resistance and weathering characteristics.
  • Polyaspartic. Less expensive than polyurea, but more expensive than polyurethanes, epoxies, and acrylics, polyaspartics provide a highly protective film layer that is extremely tough and durable.  

Penetrating Sealants

Penetrating sealants seep into the concrete and chemically react with it forming a breathable barrier just below the surface. These sealers do not change the texture or color and offer a natural look. They are made with either silane and siloxane or silicate and siliconate. These sealers help to improve the durability of exterior concrete surfaces exposed to harsh weather conditions, mold and mildew, road salts, and staining. Concrete must be fully cured before application.

Silane and siloxane sealers are classified as water repellents. They make concrete more resistant to the damaging effects of water and things like cracking and scaling. These sealers do not increase the strength of concrete.

Silicate and siliconate sealers are densifiers. They strengthen concrete by reducing the size of its pores. Making concrete more resistant to deterioration from surface abrasion, they will not stop water absorption.

The main uses for penetrating sealants include:

  • The reduction of water absorption into concrete by up to 95%
  • To keep the concrete looking natural
  • To help strengthen the surface
  • To reduce tire markings 

Contact Limitless To Discuss About Your Commercial Concrete Sealing Needs

Commercial concrete sealing is one of the best investments you can make to maintain the condition and appearance of your commercial property. The number one paving provider in Maryland, Limitless Paving & Concrete is the top choice for projects of all sizes. With locations in Frederick, Bethesda, Rockville, and Mount Airy, we are able to service a large geographic area.

Contact us today to get a no-cost, no-obligation quote and start enjoying the benefits of protecting your pavement.

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